East Side News

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Swampoodle Park opens at Third and L streets NE. Photo: Taylor Barden Golden

A Place for the Pooches in NoMa
After years of waiting, wanting and planning, Swampoodle Park is officially open at Third and L streets NE. With no formal dog park to speak of, the residents of NoMa have been fighting for years for a place for their pups to play and roam free.

While NoMa is known for being an area of the city with a lot of pooches (the local joke is that in NoMa, a dog comes with a lease), the vacant lot on which neighbors used to congregate with their dogs was closed due to pending development. Regulars saw the need for a dog-friendly space and founded FOND – Friends of NoMa Dogs – to bring their dog park vision to life. They partnered with the NoMa Parks Foundation, whose goal is to preserve outside greenspace in NoMa that is rapidly being eaten up by developers. Neighbors could help fund the park’s creation by becoming “Founding Pups,” getting a place in the park with their pup’s name.

After years of planning, negotiation and contract management, Swampoodle Park opened on Nov. 17, complete with a multilevel Wallholla, a vertical wall structure produced by Dutch company Carve that allows for maximum climbing potential designed for tight urban settings for the human variety of children. The dogs have their own climbing structure to roam above and below.

The excitement at the opening event was contagious. Councilmember Charles Allen and Robin-Eve Jasper, head of NoMa Parks Foundation and the NoMa BID, led the event, which featured many speakers and, most importantly, a parade of excited dogs ready to play on their new turf.

Swampoodle Park will be maintained by FOND through neighborhood and volunteer efforts.

Artist Nara Parks explains her work “Enduring Marks” to visitors at the opening night of the exhibit. Photo: Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District

MVT Mobile Art
Mount Vernon Triangle has gotten more colorful of late with the opening of Cultural DC’s mobile art gallery in Milian Park. Sculptor and installation artist Nara Parks, considered one of DC’s top young artists, created “Enduring Marks” specifically for CulturalDC’s mobile art space.

Her work, which has been recently acquired by the Philips Collection, mixes the aesthetic of ancient cave painting with images of her childhood artwork and writings. She pairs these two concepts with photographs of rock surges and mosses, symbolizing the marks we leave on the earth as we travel. In the exhibit, she explains, guests see images from her early life experiences, as Parks is interested in how early childhood experiences have lasting emotional and psychological effects to shape who we are.

“CulturalDC is delighted to bring Nara’s beautiful work in the Mobile Art Gallery to Mount Vernon Triangle. We hope everyone living in the neighborhood can enjoy the show with friends and family over the holiday season,” said Kristi Maiselman, executive director of CulturalDC. “This marks our first exhibit in the second year of the Mobile Art Gallery. We have served over 45,000 people since October 2017 and can’t wait to continue the great work of delivering arts directly to people’s doorsteps.”

Said Kenyattah Robinson, president and CEO of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District, “The MVT CID is proud to serve as community sponsor and host location for CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery, an innovative and unique cultural amenity that responds directly to community desires for greater open space activation as well as beautification that includes public art.” He continued: “The Mobile Art Gallery will activate a historically significant National Park Service asset that would be otherwise underutilized during colder months; magnify the area’s many attractive residential, commercial and retail offerings; and reaffirm MVT CID’s dedication and commitment to bringing arts and culture to our vibrant and rapidly growing downtown community.”

The gallery officially opened on Nov. 16 with a community kickoff event featuring musical performances from Emma G., Benjamin Gates and Pebble to Peal, as well as free bites from local restaurant partners. The gallery space will be open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., through Feb. 1.

Before, during and after the opening event, guests are invited to take advantage of special deals at participating area restaurants by showing their Eventbrite ticket confirmation or a postcard from the gallery. Restaurant partners include A Baked Joint, The Capital Burger, Chez Lily, Farmers & Distillers, Prather’s on the Alley, Ottoman Taverna, Shouk and Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.